A Natural Alternative to Statin Drugs to Lower Cholesterol
excerpted from a newsletter by Dr. Michael Murray.
Recently, a friend asked me if there were any natural alternatives to the statin drug Lipitor. Hisphysician had prescribed the drug after a routine yearly physical showed that his cholesterollevels were 294 mg/dl and the bad LDL cholesterol levels were 195 mg/dl. I told him there aremany choices, but I wanted him to try a new product on the market - Cholesterol Formula fromNatural Factors. This product combines cholesterol-lowering plant sterols with Sytrinol (a specialflavonoid from citrus peels). The research on Sytrinol is extremely impressive and I was lookingfor a test subject so I sent a two month supply down and told him to take 3 in the morning and 3at night. His repeat blood test showed that his total cholesterol had dropped to 190 mg/dl and hisLDL was now 105 mg. Both of these numbers are outstanding representing a drop of more than30% for the total cholesterol and roughly 45% for the LDL. Fantastic!! It was just the responsethat I had hoped for.
By combining the plant sterols with Sytrinol the Cholesterol Formula provides a comprehensiveformula that addresses all facets of elevated blood lipids including high cholesterol, high LDL,and high triglycerides. Sytrinol also provides a significant anti-inflammatory effect and aschronic inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for heart attack and recently Sytrinolwas shown to enhance insulin sensitivity. In total, all of these effects makes this natural hearthealth formula an ideal choice for anyone wishing to maintain a healthy lipid profile and reducetheir risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How does it work?
Blood cholesterol levels are derived from two sources: endogenous synthesis (made by the body)and from dietary sources. Plant sterols work to lower cholesterol levels primarily by blocking theabsorption of dietary cholesterol and the reuptake of bile acids made from cholesterol in the liver.Plant can inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine by up to 50%, and lower LDLblood cholesterol by up to 14%.
Sytrinol works by blocking the enzymes in the liver responsible for manufacturing cholesteroland triglyceride production. For example, the polymethoxylated flavones in the extract have beenshown to decrease the production of apolipoprotein B, a structural protein needed for endogenoussynthesis of LDL cholesterol.
Clinical results have shown that Sytrinol exerts effects very similar to statin drugs, but withoutside effects. Specifically, it has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels up to 30%, LDLcholesterol levels up to 27% and triglyceride levels up to 34% within four to twelve weeks ofuse.
Dosage and Safety
For best results, the recommended dosage is 400 mg of plant sterols plus 150 mg of Sytrinoltwice daily. For the Cholesterol Formula this translates to two capsules twice times daily. Forlarger individuals and for people with total cholesterol levels over 300 mg/dl, I generallyrecommend 3 capsules twice daily.
The combination of plant sterols and Sytrinol is very safe for long-term use. The combinationmay enhance the performance of cholesterol lowering drugs such as the statins, and can be usedalong with natural cholesterol lowering supplements such as niacin, policosanol, or garlic.
What about Red Yeast Rice?
The red yeast (Monascus purpureus) fermented on rice is the source of a group of compoundsknown as monacolins that are natural statins. In fact, the cholesterol-lowering prescription drugMevacor? (Merck) is the trade name for the compound lovastatin (also known as monacolin K)one the key monacolins in red yeast rice extract.
The marketing of Cholestin? (an extract of red yeast fermented on rice standardized formonacolin content) as a dietary supplement in the United States caused quite a controversy in1997 since it contained a natural source of a prescription drug. The FDA and Merck eventuallywere able to prohibit the sale of red yeast rice extracts as a dietary supplement if the red yeastrice product contains significant amounts of the ingredient lovastatin. And, since a red yeast ricenot containing lovastatin would not likely be effective it means that if a red yeast rice product iseffective in lowering cholesterol it is probably in violation of federal law. Fifty-three marketersof dietary supplements that contain red yeast rice have received lawsuit notices that they are inviolation of California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act and are now barred from sale in thisstate. Here is my bottom line opinion. It just does not make sense to take red yeast rice.Lovastatin is now a generic drug and one of the least expensive statins. And, if you are interestedin taking an alternative to statins, there are definitely better choices than red yeast rice.
What should I do if I am taking a statin drug?
Within the first two months, Sytrinol typically produce reductions in total cholesterol level of 50to 75 mg/dl in patients with initial total cholesterol levels above 250 mg/dl. In cases in which theinitial cholesterol level is above 300 mg/dl, it may take four to six months before cholesterollevels begin to reach recommended levels.
If you are taking a statin drug or red yeast rice and your cholesterol levels are in therecommended range, I would recommend working with your doctor and start the CholesterolFormula at the recommended dosage and reduce the dosage of the statin by one half. It is veryimportant to recheck the cholesterol levels after six weeks. If everything still looks great, tryeliminating the statin drug entirely and recheck again in six weeks. You can always go back onthe statin or add niacin (see http://www.doctormurray.com/conditions/High_Cholesterol.asp) ifyour cholesterol levels go up. If your cholesterol levels are not in the ideal range even though youare on a statin, I would definitely recommend adding the Cholesterol Formula to your regimenand continue to monitor your cholesterol levels with your doctor.
Although there is considerable evidence that lowering cholesterol is very important in reducingcardiovascular mortality, the debate remains whether statin therapy represents the optimalapproach to this goal especially in light of the growing acceptance of risk factors like elevatedC-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) and low omega-3 fatty acids. Natural products anddietary measures will hopefully supplant the statin drugs as therapy of choice in most patients.Dietary measures alone are often extremely effective. For example, one interesting studycompared a diet low in saturated fat together with plant sterols and viscous fibers and the use ofsoy protein and nuts to lovastatin (Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Effects of a dietaryportfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods vs lovastatin on serum lipids and C-reactive protein.JAMA 2003;290:502-510). The participants were randomly assigned to undergo one of threeinterventions on an outpatient basis for 1 month: a diet low in saturated fat, based on milledwhole-wheat cereals and low-fat dairy foods; the same diet plus lovastatin, 20 mg/day; or a diethigh in plant sterols (1 g/1000 kcal), soy protein (21.4 g/1000 kcal), viscous fibers (9.8 g/1000kcal), and almonds (14 g/1000 kcal). The control, statin, and dietary portfolio groups had averagedecreases in LDL cholesterol of 8%, 30.9%, and 28.6%, respectively. These results indicate thatincorporating several dietary cholesterol-lowering components known to lower cholesterol levelsproduced results comparable to a statin drug.
Elevated cholesterol levels are certainly an independent risk factor for heart disease and strokes.However, there are other important risk factors that are almost entirely ignored by mostphysicians and unknown to most of the general public. While smoking, high blood pressure,diabetes, and obesity join elevated cholesterol levels as major risk factors research over the pastdecade have documented that factors like low levels of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPAand DHA, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation often overshadow these so-called majorrisk factors. . .
. . .Are all of the prescriptions for statins legitimate? Probably not, while high cholesterol levelsneed to be addressed there may be better approaches for most people. While the drug companyreps often state that statins are so safe and effective they should be placed in drinking water, thereality is that they are very expensive medicines and carry with them considerable risks for sideeffects. Some of the side effects noted with statins include:
?Liver problems and elevated liver function tests
?Interference with the manufacture of coenzyme Q 10.
?Rhabdomyolysis (muscle pain and weakness), the breaking down of muscle tissue which canprove fatal.
?Polyneuropathy (nerve damage) with chances of nerve damage 26 times higher than the normalpopulation.
?Brain and central nervous system functions (after prolonged use some patients sufferedmeasurable decline in mental function).
?Possible increased risk of cancer and heart failure with long-term use.
If you have high cholesterol levels, I would certainly encourage you to try dietary, lifestyle, andsupplement strategies first before taking a drug. And, if you are taking a statin, I stronglyrecommend taking the following [Natural Factors} supplements to reduce the likelihood ofsuffering from their side effects:
?MultiStart (age and gender specific multiple vitamin and mineral formulas). Follow labelinstructions.
?Enriching Greens - a great tasting "greens drink" containing highly concentrated "greens" likechlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, etc., and herbal extracts. Take oneserving (one tablespoon) in 8 ounces of water daily.
?RxOmega-3 Factors - A true pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement. Take two capsules daily.If you have high triglycerides, take two or three capsules twice daily.
?Coenzyme Q10 - 100 to 200 mg depending upon your size and dosage of statin drug. ChooseCoQ10 products in soft gelatin capsules in a rice bran oil base.
But, before you take a statin I would certainly recommend trying any of a number of effectivenatural products to lower cholesterol. [such as Sytrinol and Plant Sterols]
excerpted from a newsletter by Dr. Michael Murray.
Cholesterol Formula 120 Capsules
by Natural Factors
Willner Product #51368